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Topic: Lyrics for "Mistake"< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Markus K. Offline




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Posted: Aug. 21 2004, 05:31

Hi!

I found two different versions of the lyrics for "Mistake". (There are basically two versions which websites have copied from others.)

I brought the topic up in the alt.music.mike-oldfield newsgroup and got some comments from a native english speaker.

Apparently the lyrics are as below. Any comments? Perhaps the lyrics at tubular.net could be updated.

"It Was A Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

I Wake, It's Frightening
Rain Hammering On Your Window
I Hate, Sheet Lightning
You Reach For The Telephone

Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

I Pray For Blue Skies
Rain Hammering On Your Window
On Your Way You Wonder Why
You're Standing On Your Own

Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

And talking on the radio,
you never know how to say
anything sublime that could be on your mind
seems to vanish in a tragical way.

Get lost in dreaming.
Rain hammering on your window,
Try to catch the meaning.
You're dancing on your own.

Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

And talking on the radio,
you never know how to say
anything sublime that could be on your mind
seems to vanish in a tragical way.

(Hammering)
(Dreaming)

It Was A Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

It Was A Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

It Was A Mistake Under The Weather
One Shower's Gonna Turn Into Another
It's A Heartbreak Under The Weather
Standing Out In The Cold

It Was A Mistake"


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Markus K.
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smillsoid Offline




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Posted: April 19 2009, 21:06

Sounds right to me.  I've always adored this song!

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SunkenForest Offline




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Posted: Jan. 20 2010, 20:48

I love this song, too.  As a single, it just works.  Usually I tend to not like that sort of style as much, but the vocalist got the mood of the song just right.
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ex member 419 Offline




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Posted: Jan. 21 2010, 00:35

The lyrics to Mistake brought me to tears! Hands up everyone who can remember breaking up with their childhood sweetheart. This song reminds me of that bitter sweet age of 16 to 17 when you swear you will never get over it and the heartbreak seemed earth shattering! We have all been there, grown up and found love again, but this song makes me think the author will never get over lost love, regrets loss of love and "being left standing in the cold in the rain" really sad song. Sorry getting soppy now!
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Jan. 21 2010, 08:31

Despite the apparently heartbroken lyrics, the feel of the song seems quite bouncy and cheerful. I prefer the more wrenching MO pieces, the pieces full of real feeling. This, to me, is in the same category as "Magic Touch".
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Jan. 21 2010, 17:47

In the middle break, Mike's slightly filtered (EQ'd?) voice sings "Rain hammering" and "In dreaming", not only "Hammering" and "Dreaming". I love Mike's vocal interaction in this song, it really stands out quite well - if there were only Maggie singing it, IMHO, it wouldn't have the same appeal that it has as it actually is.

@ nightspore: yes, the music is actually bouncy. But I think that one of the strengths in Mike's 1980s songwriting (after the Eighties he didn't write any good vocal songs, did he? :D) is the fact that lyrics and music are quite often in complete contrast. Just to give you a couple of examples, "Pictures in the Dark" has quite a whimsical and surreal lyric on a very strong melody, which IMHO ends up assuming more importance than the lyric itself; on the other hand, "Holy" has a very sweet lyric, but the music, as we all know, is quite powerful in its pumped-up pop/rock vibe, and produces the opposite effect as PitD because the music actually enhances the emotional content of the lyric. So, here in "Mistake", maybe the bounciness of the music is intended to mean that the heartbreak situation depicted in the lyric isn't quite as serious as it apperently looks like... :)


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ex member 419 Offline




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Posted: Jan. 22 2010, 06:39

I think you are both right about the lyrics of Mistake and the bouncy tune which does suggest a not so serious break up. Amazing how Mike used to do that with lyrics and contrast them with a completely unexpected melody.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Jan. 22 2010, 19:47

Quote (Ugo @ Jan. 21 2010, 17:47)
So, here in "Mistake", maybe the bounciness of the music is intended to mean that the heartbreak situation depicted in the lyric isn't quite as serious as it apperently looks like... :)

It's interesting, Ugo, isn't it, that it's the music rather than the lyrics that we turn to to understand what the song "really" means.

It reminds me a bit of "Hostage of the Heart", where, of course, a person is described as being in a pitiable state, but the music is nothing more than cheerfully sardonic.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Jan. 23 2010, 18:12

@ nightspore: I was going to quote various examples from the Earth Moving album in my post above, as various songs on that record create that kind of lyrics vs. music contrast - "Hostage" is obviously one of those... maybe the only song whose lyrics match the music is "Far Country", but not entirely: if I'd had the lyrics only (with no music), I think I'd have made it even slower and more airy, more NewAge-ish than Mike O.

A pop song is always a combination of lyrics and music, but of course the importance that each of those two elements may have and the balance between them depends on who writes the song. Bob Dylan is one of many people who have lyrics which are always (or almost always) more important than the music. But here we're not talking about Bob Dylan, who is a great lyricist and a great songwriter (although not a great singer, IMHO). Here we're talking about Mike Oldfield, who is a great composer, but he never was, he isn't and I think he will never be a great songwriter. And as a great musician, I think it's pretty obvious that he chooses the music, rather than the lyrics, as the primary medium to express the emotions he wants to express in a song. I don't think that he's very much interested in the fact that the meaning of the lyrics, or the emotion(s) expressed in them, isn't (aren't) matched by the music: as long as the lyrics sound good (and, more importantly, sound good to him! :D), they're OK. In this respect, he's exactly like Brian Eno. He and Mike O. are radically different in many, many other aspects, but I think their attitude toward lyrics is exactly the same. :) I also think that the three main questions, in order of importance, that Mike O. may ask himself when writing lyrics are more or less like this: 1) Do the lyrics make sense?; 2) Do they express the emotion(s) and the feeling(s) I want them to express?; 3) Do they sound good when coupled with the music? [I don't think he ever asked himself something like "Do(es) the feeling(s) in the lyrics match the feeling(s) in the music?".] If the answer is "Yes" to all three, then the lyrics are OK. But if it's "No" to just one of those questions, especially to the third, he's very likely to sweat cold blood over a lyric. And he probably did, on songs like "Five Miles Out" and "Moonlight Shadow".


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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Jan. 23 2010, 19:29

Quote (Ugo @ Jan. 23 2010, 18:12)
@ nightspore: I was going to quote various examples from the Earth Moving album in my post above, as various songs on that record create that kind of lyrics vs. music contrast - "Hostage" is obviously one of those... maybe the only song whose lyrics match the music is "Far Country", but not entirely: if I'd had the lyrics only (with no music), I think I'd have made it even slower and more airy, more NewAge-ish than Mike O.

A pop song is always a combination of lyrics and music, but of course the importance that each of those two elements may have and the balance between them depends on who writes the song. Bob Dylan is one of many people who have lyrics which are always (or almost always) more important than the music. But here we're not talking about Bob Dylan, who is a great lyricist and a great songwriter (although not a great singer, IMHO). Here we're talking about Mike Oldfield, who is a great composer, but he never was, he isn't and I think he will never be a great songwriter. And as a great musician, I think it's pretty obvious that he chooses the music, rather than the lyrics, as the primary medium to express the emotions he wants to express in a song. I don't think that he's very much interested in the fact that the meaning of the lyrics, or the emotion(s) expressed in them, isn't (aren't) matched by the music: as long as the lyrics sound good (and, more importantly, sound good to him! :D), they're OK. In this respect, he's exactly like Brian Eno. He and Mike O. are radically different in many, many other aspects, but I think their attitude toward lyrics is exactly the same. :) I also think that the three main questions, in order of importance, that Mike O. may ask himself when writing lyrics are more or less like this: 1) Do the lyrics make sense?; 2) Do they express the emotion(s) and the feeling(s) I want them to express?; 3) Do they sound good when coupled with the music? [I don't think he ever asked himself something like "Do(es) the feeling(s) in the lyrics match the feeling(s) in the music?".] If the answer is "Yes" to all three, then the lyrics are OK. But if it's "No" to just one of those questions, especially to the third, he's very likely to sweat cold blood over a lyric. And he probably did, on songs like "Five Miles Out" and "Moonlight Shadow".

Hi Ugo, much to talk about here... For simplicity I'll give my thoughts paragraph by paragraph...

I think you're right about "Far Country"'s being the only song on Earth Moving where there's a match between words and music. I think "Holy" comes close: the music is rather slow and heavy, rather in keeping with the "weighty" connotations of holiness. "Runaway Son" is the interesting one: it's all about repentance, but it's racy exuberance suggests that the guy is still enjoying his debauched lifestyle! Given the humour in the song, perhaps you could call this psychological irony, making it (in my opinion) Mike's best song (along with "Heaven's Open").

I agree with you about Dylan. To me his melodies are almost childishly simple, making his lyrics seem downright incongruous. And I find his singing almost embarrassing. As for Mike, I think he probably could be a very good songwriter, if he put the effort in. This invites the question: what makes a good song? I'd suggest a few things:

1) the music must match the lyrics (unless irony is intended)
2) the music's beats or stresses shouldn't fall on unimportant words (like "and"), or distort the normal pronunciation of words
3) the lyrics should contain fresh imagery - images that makes us look at the world from a new perspective
4) there should be no mixed metaphors. Mike is particularly susceptible to this (eg "two burning eyes are tearing you apart").

This is a rudimentary list; there are other aspects, of course.
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ex member 419 Offline




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Posted: Jan. 23 2010, 20:01

There are two songs that I think Mike got the music / lyrics formula just right. Far Country and Heaven's Open. These two were magic to me. Heading way off topic but may start a new thread: On MOTS On My Heart was the perfect marriage of vocals by Hayley Westrena to Mike's music. Totally blew me away. "those rare but golden moments when songs just work" Mike is foremost a musician and his instrumentals convey more feeling than any lyrics could ever give justice to. He succeeded in both areas IMHO.
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SunkenForest Offline




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Posted: Jan. 26 2010, 13:05

I wouldn't say I am as familiar yet with the vocal music to be able to comment on the songwriting, but I will certainly be listening for these rules.

I would say that Okkervil River's Will Sheff is a fantastic songwriter.
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smillsoid Offline




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Posted: Jan. 26 2010, 13:40

I've always thought the lyrics were about Mike's fear of being interviewed...what a mistake-a da make-a... :O

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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Jan. 26 2010, 19:26

Quote (SunkenForest @ Jan. 26 2010, 13:05)
I wouldn't say I am as familiar yet with the vocal music to be able to comment on the songwriting, but I will certainly be listening for these rules.

Interestingly - and whether intentionally or not - the Beatles seem to adhere to them pretty strictly. (No doubt there are exceptions. Ugo?)
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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: Jan. 27 2010, 05:39

Quote (nightspore @ Jan. 27 2010, 00:26)
Quote (SunkenForest @ Jan. 26 2010, 13:05)
I wouldn't say I am as familiar yet with the vocal music to be able to comment on the songwriting, but I will certainly be listening for these rules.

Interestingly - and whether intentionally or not - the Beatles seem to adhere to them pretty strictly. (No doubt there are exceptions. Ugo?)

Most of the early Beatles songs are wrote to a specific system in terms of structure,that they kind of pot boiled and formulated themselves from their own varying influences.They were very quick to start subverting and altering it though,plus they were always eager to learn and try new things.If you take something as seemingly simple as Yesterday for example,in many ways that entire song is written in reverse.It`s what Andy Partridge likes to refer to as a "Vhorus Song" .In other words it starts with the chorus,and then moves into the refrain/middle 8.Moonlight Shadow is pretty close to a "Vhorus Song" I guess.Mistake is pretty close as well,but then makes the mistake(ahem) of falling back into verses again.The real "trick" with a good "Vhorus song" is to make the second part of your song even better than the first.As a composer they make you work that bit harder.They`re often very effective though and more "natural" sounding in a way.

As far as the lyrics go,I don`t think Mike is particularly gifted I must admit.Most of Mike`s lyrics to me whether inadvertantly or not seem to be about feelings of being trapped,or of looking for a means of escape from something.I don`t think there`s one track on Discovery for instance that does`nt convey those feelings at some point or other.Very often it`s the entire song in fact.In that respect you could say he at least put his personality into them.But for me he was always too reliant on cliches and proverbs,and light metaphors for some reason.He did`nt do enough with them is what I would add to that.For the most part he had the accents in all the right places,and there was very little that sounded immediately "wrong" I guess.Although I do still have difficulty with "Four a.m. in the morning" I have to say.You`ve said it yourself before Nightspore and I think your absolutely right.He could have, and probably should have spent a lot more time on them.Maybe he always knew in the back of his mind he was "never gonna` give up the day job" ? ...Urrggh.. "Cliche"
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smillsoid Offline




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Posted: Jan. 27 2010, 10:34

I like Mike's lyrics.  They sound very innocent and child-like to me.

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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Jan. 27 2010, 19:58

Quote (smillsoid @ Jan. 27 2010, 10:34)
I like Mike's lyrics.  They sound very innocent and child-like to me.

But of course, some of them are better than others. Sometimes he's careless, eg,  "3 AM in the morning"; sometimes he uses mixed metaphors, eg, "two burning eyes are tearing you apart" - but, yes, I agree: often they're simple and effective, especially on Islands.
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Matt Offline




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Posted: Jan. 28 2010, 07:04

Quote (nightspore @ Jan. 28 2010, 00:58)
Sometimes he's careless, eg,  "3 AM in the morning";

Was your "3 AM" instead of "4 AM" a deliberate bit of carelessness  ;)


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smillsoid Offline




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Posted: Jan. 28 2010, 07:54

Still, they're better than "My humps, my humps, my humps..." :laugh:

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wiga Offline




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Posted: Jan. 28 2010, 08:05

Hey I think My Humps is cool :cool:.

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